Medical Anthropology before July 2020

The Department of Anthropology's Medical Anthropology Track (MedAnth) is for students interested in all aspects of medicine, from biology to therapeutic systems to cultural ideas and practices of health and wellbeing. Choosing this track allows students who are interested in the sciences, policy, the humanities and the sub-field of medical anthropology to focus their undergraduate training around these topics. This track requires nine courses total; four are required and five are electives that include departmental courses focused on the mind, body or health systems/structures (see examples from the list below). Students in this track are allowed to substitute one of the five elective courses with a class taught within the Department of Anthropology but outside MedAnth. Students are also allowed to take two cognates as part of their nine departmental courses.

Required Courses (4)

  • ANT 240* Medical Anthropology or ANT 340 Medicine and the Humanities or ANT 461 Disability, Difference, and Race or another approved foundational course
  • A course on Human Evolution or ANT 215 Human Adaptation or ANT 309 Forensic Anthropology or ANT 201 (beginning Fall 2020) or a cognate¹ biological course
  • ANT 300 Ethnography, Evidence and Experience
  • ANT 301 The Ethnographer's Craft

* ANT 235, Medical Humanities, in Spring 2018, satisfies this requirement. Students who have taken ANT 235 may also take ANT 340 and ANT 461 as elective courses, but not ANT 240, as Medical Humanities (ANT 235) is considered equivalent to Medical Anthropology (ANT 240). 

¹Note: The department will accept Evolutionary Biology (EEB 309) and Life on Earth (EEB 211/MOL 211) as cognates if taken in AY 2019 to AY 2021 by students declaring the ANT concentration in Spring 2020 or earlier. These courses may be used to substitute for a required biological anthropology course offered by the Anthropology Department.

Elective Courses (5)

Examples of MedAnth electives are shown below. Elective courses are typically taught every other year, although some may be offered annually and others less frequently. A list of pre-approved MedAnth electives will be published each semester before course enrollment begins, if available. In the MedAnth track, there are a small number of courses that may be applied by one student as a required course and by another student as an elective (e.g., ANT 201, ANT 206, ANT 215, ANT 309, ANT 340, ANT 461).

Courses pertaining to the mind, examples: Psychological Anthropology (ANT 305); Mind, Body, and Bioethics in Japan and Beyond (EAS 312/ ANT 312)

Courses pertaining to the body, examples: Race and Medicine (ANT 403); Forensic Anthropology (ANT 308 or 309B); Death, Aging, and Mortality: Cultural and Biosocial Perspectives (ANT 442); Human Evolution (ANT 206); Human Adaptation (ANT 215) 

Courses pertaining to cultural systems and structures, examples: Critical Perspectives in Global Health (GHP 350/ ANT 380); Catastrophes Across Cultures: The Anthropology of Disaster (ANT 219); Forensic Anthropology (ANT 309A); Ethics in Context (ANT 360); Medicine and the Humanities (ANT 340); Global Pharmaceuticals: Science, Political Economy, Ethics (ANT 405); Disability, Difference, and Race (ANT 461) 

Possible Cognates (2) 

A cognate is a course that the director of undergraduate studies has reviewed and deemed to be relevant to a student's independent work or correspond to a student's course of study (i.e., track). A department cognate for a MedAnth student might include a course taught in departments or programs such as History of Science; African American Studies; Gender and Sexuality Studies; Sociology; Psychology; Molecular Biology; Engineering; Global Health; regional studies including but not limited to American Studies, East Asian Studies, Latin American Studies, Near Eastern Studies; courses taken during study abroad; and/or anthropology courses taught outside the Medical Anthropology Track. Proposed cognates must be approved by the department. Approval prior to enrollment is normally expected, however, retroactive approval is granted when warranted.

Senior Thesis

Students in MedAnth write a senior thesis in a topic related to medical anthropology, broadly defined, using a methodological and theoretical approach appropriate to anthropology and approved by a student's senior thesis adviser.

Degree at Graduation

The transcript degree of students in the Medical Anthropology Track will be A.B. in Anthropology. Students who successfully complete the MedAnth curriculum will receive a departmental attestation on Class Day and may note their concentration on their resumés.

Return to the current page for Medical Anthropology.